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Week of April 22, 2001


Dear Mrs Web 

I am hoping you can give me some advice. I have known this man for about four years. We met through mutual friends while at college. Last year we saw each other in a nightclub and we ended up kissing, I felt a little bad about this because he is a friend of my former boyfriend and I did not want to get involved with him because of this reason.

I didn't see him again until autumn. I saw him a bar and we hit it off. By the end of the night we where kissing again. This has happened nearly every week, we meet at the bar and go off and kiss. My friends tell me he likes me and I know that he looks for me every week at the club and and waits for me to arrive.

Last weekend I ended up back at his house and we had a lovely time, we didnít have sex, neither of us wanted that, but we did spend the night together. The next morning he was very shy and tried his best to avoid me. When I booked a taxi to go home we kissed and that was it. 

We do have each otherís numbers and e-mails and I have rung him once  before but he has never rung me but has mailed me a few times. I am confused, what is going on? Is this kissing on Saturday night when we are both half-drunk all he wants? I have no idea what to do.

Dear Mrs. Web says: "If you keep doing something and it doesnít get you what you want, you can stop."

 It sounds like you go out every week, get drunk, and play no-strings kissy-face with a man who is happy to do the same. Kissy-face leads to sex. Everyone knows that. It works by increments. He already has you in bed; the sex is just a matter of time.

In your shoes, I would stop this silly situation and see whether the man is actually interested in the kissy-face or me. I would find some other place to go on Saturday night. I also would make some decisions about what kind of relationship I want to have with him and the commitments I need to sleep with him Ė because that is the direction you are heading.



Dear Mrs. Web,

My boyfriend and I broke up about a month ago, because of a misunderstanding. He now knows the truth, but is involved with another woman. They have been dating about two weeks. How do I convince him to break up with her without hurting her?

You will hurt her. Emotions by definition and nature can hurt us. That is why we need to treat our own emotions and the emotions of others tenderly and with respect.



Although this is not technically a dating letter I think it is an important letter about friendship and boundaries that many dating people face Ė Best Dear Mrs. Web

Dear Mrs. Web,

I recently had a falling out with a friend. She has been married for nine years with three children and became involved with another man. She confided in me and I thought I was being a good listener and friend. She had her first job working in a bar and got a lot of attention from the men there. I could understand how it could have happened.

Her husband suspected her infidelity and moved out. I met with and spoke to the man she was seeing and told him to end the relationship. I didn't say anything to her husband.

She hasnít really spoken to me since. I called her and told her I was trying to be a good friend. She says sheís not mad but when I see her at bowling once a week, she refuses to talk to me. She is back with her husband. I heard that she is now spreading cruel rumors about me. My other friends and family say I should be angry with her but I just feel sorry for her. I miss her friendship. I think we could just forget about what happened and be friends again. Should I confront her and talk it out?

I know you were her good friend, but you put yourself in the middle of her life. You stepped over a line. I am not saying it wasnít a good thing for you to do, but the interference cost you the friendship. Sometimes we interfere to do someone good, like telling someoneís family he is abusing drugs or is suicidal. These actions may ruin a friendship, but are what a good friend does. I understand you miss your friend. Perhaps, someday you will have some sort of relationship with this woman, but not now. 

From my perspective, you havenít lost a whole lot. Your friend is philandering liar. Why would you want her in the middle of your life? These behaviors, and her subsequent treatment of you, are all indicators of poor character. It is one thing to understand someoneís motives, but it doesnít mean we have to accept the behavior. We shouldnít have friends that compromise our integrity.

Friendships that end should be mourned. You might want to make up a goodbye ritual for yourself, such as putting all pictures and mementos from the friendship in a box or doing something alone that you both enjoyed doing together. Give it time. You will find a strong desire and habit to want to call and communicate, but over time, this will diminish. You will find another close friend. I know this because you have been a good friend and many people are looking for one.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I need a womenís perspective. My girlfriend and I are 17. We have been dating for 11 months and we have grown close. Sometimes I worry if it is too close. What I mean is that sometimes if I don't call her when I wake up in the morning she gets mad at me. Then I get upset. I really love her, I know that she loves me and I still want to date her but I want to tell her that if we don't cool off our relationship a bit we will make some stupid mistakes. We need to give each other some breathing room. I'm not sure if she will understand what I'm trying to say.

How can I possibly say this to her? Do you think I am too young to be in a relationship like this?

Yes, I do understand what you mean by too close. When I think of people who are too close, it is like they are joined at the hip. They are so enmeshed emotionally that they need to be in each otherís lives all the time and to connect constantly. Part of growing well in a relationship is the ability to develop all parts of you with the relationship. When you are secure in love you can move away from each other and develop interests, goals, talents, and skills. You help each other reach goals. You plan for the "us."

You might be able to move into a courtship model of being together. I have books about courtship at my website. This would ask you to be together more in a group and with family. It takes the relationship out of "away from everybody and just us" and puts it in the everydayness of life. Perhaps you should look into it a bit further. It also might be a good way to open the topic with your girlfriend. Give her a copy to read and talk about it together. You will find them on my bookshelf under the Dating and Courtship section.



Week of April 15, 2001


Dear Mrs. Web,

I met a man about a year ago that I have recently come to care very deeply about, he is very sensitive, caring and seems to feel the same about me. He works close to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week. Last year he had a serious accident and his long-term girlfriend moved out. I do believe that he is trying very hard to get back on his feet.

However, after work, he heads straight to the bar and 80 percent of the time closes the bar. I am very worried about his health; he works so hard, and drinks so much. He is not getting enough rest and his eating habits are poor.

My main concern is his drinking; he is 45 years old and tells me he is ready to settle down. I recently ended a relationship where alcohol was the main problem and I don't want to go through that again. Please tell me how to show my concern without sounding like his mother.

You are considering a relationship with an alcoholic. Moreover, you are concerned about hurting his feelings about his poor life choices. Why are you worried about how you sound? The blunt truth is that he is an alcoholic and you should be running in the opposite direction.

You have known him a year now. What could possibly attract you to a barfly, even a delightful barfly? Do you really want to deal with all the problems that occur in a marriage to an alcoholic? Itís not anything Iíd volunteer to do.

Women who coast from one alcoholic to another usually like the familiar craziness of the alcoholic life. I recommend Al-Anon. Get some perspective here.



Dear Mrs. Web,

There is a boy at my school. He has liked me for a while. I started liking him. He told one of my friends that he liked me but he was to shy to say it. So, I asked him out. He said it was up to his parents, but he also said that he would like to. Today he told me that he never said he wanted to go out with me. I think he said it because other people found out. Should I leave him in the dust or keep trying?

Leave him in the dust. If someone told me he never said he wanted to go out with me, I would take it as "No". I would find someplace else for my interests. It is important to listen to what people say and how it relates to you.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I want to send flowers to a woman that I have recently met. What special day should I choose to do so, Easter or Motherís Day? I am not sending for each occasion.

Unless you have had a direct or indirect role in this womanís motherhood, donít send flowers to her on Motherís Day.

One should only acknowledge Motherís Day with a woman who has some kind of motherly role in your life, wife, mother, grandmother, close Aunt, a daughterÖ Therefore, my choice would be Easter or perhaps an unexpected, fresh, spring bouquet just because it is spring!



Dear Mrs. Web,

I dated a man in college for two years. It was my first relationship. Circumstances caused us to split. I moved to California to work. I have not seen this man in 18 years.

I am happily married, we have three children, and I am fortunate in many ways. My husband is a wonderful man. We are perfectly matched.

Recently a friend from college died suddenly and tragically. She was part of the group of close friends I had at school. My old love was also part of the group. I have been thinking of my old love constantly. I want to contact him and talk over this loss with him. This man is married and there is no real reason to contact him. I have written and torn up letters, and have tried to find his email and even have his telephone number. I just want to connect with him now.

I have told my husband about my problem. He is concerned too. What is going on with me? What should I do?

What you are experiencing is not uncommon. You have lost your boundaries about a past relationship. Often, an event such as a death can open these boundaries.

You gave your heart to someone 12 years ago. Then the relationship ended. You both moved on. There is, at this time, a denial that relationships cost us much. Or that they leave lasting impressions in our lives. This is, of course, not true. When we emotionally and physically connect with someone, we carry it throughout our lives. It is, in some ways, a marriage, with all the liability to the heart. This is why I am such a great advocate of courtship.

I had something similar happen to me with my first husband. After many years, I had a great urge to connect with him. It too, happened during the death, of a family member. I discovered my need to again acknowledge the great pain of our divorce and mourn the end of relationship. This happened over ten years into my present marriage. I mourned the loss of the path not continued, the life I did not lead, the children we did not haveÖ It was truly a time of unpacking the past, then repacking it in a new way. I was able to do this in the safety and strength of my marriage with my husband and children as my anchors.

This is a somewhat common issue. We sometimes lose our boundaries and our feelings rage out of control. This is the time we cling to our commitments and rely on the the good judgment of others, such as our spouse and family. Feelings are fleeting, and change depending on emotional and physical states. Donít base your life on them. Think of the people who have exploded their lives in order to follow a feeling, such as the man who leaves his wife and family for the 21-year-old aerobics instructor, or the mom who ditches everything to live with the meter man. Only then can you realize how destructive a truly feelings-based decision-making process can be.

At the same time I am not saying ignore your feelings, they do need to be processed, cried over, written about, and deeply experienced. I find writing (but not sending) a letter to the person in question to be a big relief. Some people do other creative things like make a sculpture, painting a picture, using photography, or writing and performing music.

In short, no, I do not think you should contact your past beloved. I think you should instead, do the processing work, repackage this piece of your life, and move on.



Dear Mrs. Web, 

I work with a woman I find amazing. I am 32 and I have never met anyone like her before. We flirt but I am not really sure how she feels about me. I think about her all the time and look forward to seeing her everyday. 

She will literally take my breath away at times, with a glance from across the room or a smile as she walks by. She is 21, smart, very funny, and extremely beautiful. 

Unfortunately, I am married. I do love my wife, and we arenít having any problems. We have been together since graduation, over 14 years. We have no children.

This other woman is always on my mind. She does know that I do have a thing for her, but I donít believe she knows how far it goes. Should I tell this woman how I feel and see what happens? Maybe it will work and maybe she feels the same as I do. Please help

Sir, I cannot give you the go- ahead to ignore your wedding vows and pursue young, flirting women! Many men and women become infatuated with someone while married. They all feel just the way you do. You are having a physical response to the excitement you feel around this woman. 

Frankly, she is playing you. Young women like to exercise and flaunt their power over susceptible men. Dear Mrs Web was once young and beautiful Ė she remembers.

How you handle it is a matter of character and morals. In your shoes, I would avoid this woman, even to the point of transferring to another division. You can detonate and ruin your entire life by moving towards this woman. Think clearly.



Dear Mrs. Web,

I dated this guy for only a week and we really clicked. Then there was a misunderstanding. A friend told me lies about him and I freaked out. I scared him off.

I tried to mend things with e-mails, a few phone calls, etc. He responds and he's nice but he doesn't make any effort. I know he likes me, but he was hurt. I cannot stop thinking about him, and I feel like I am chasing him. What should I do?

You have done everything you can. Sometimes due to circumstances, things donít work out. Let it go. You are obsessing about him. It is time to think about something else. There are many wonderful men out there.  It is also time to find a new friend.



Dear Mrs. Web:

My boyfriend of 5 years is going home to his family for Easter holidays. It is a long 12-hour drive. I have met all of his family on many different occasions. He said he would normally invite me but he wanted me to save my vacation for our summer plans. He also wanted to be alone. He wanted to be with his mother who is slowing.

I am just fine about this; in fact, I have encouraged him to spend time with his family. I have a friend who thinks that it is odd that he is not taking me. I havenít seen any signs he is pulling away from our relationship; on the contrary, we are becoming closer. Should I be worried?

He said he is going home to connect with his family. He said he had rather you use your vacation days for summer plans. Sounds reasonable to me. I don't think he is going to run off with the Easter Bunny!



Dear Mrs. Web,

One of my favorite sitcoms, now seen in reruns, was 'Married With Children.í Did you ever see the show during its 10-year run? If so, what advice would you have given to Al, Peg, and the kids?

Dear Mrs. Web lives a rather backward life and has not seen this show. Sorry, I canít be much help to you. From the little I have heard about the program, Dear Mrs. Web would probably have to give them a good talking to.




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